When you hear Chopin’s études, you can tell that he was a virtuosic pianist himself, and intimately familiar with the piano. Études are short but challenging studies meant to stretch the pianist’s technical boundaries and develop his technique. But Chopin’s etudes challenged not only his own playing ability, but also his compositional ingenuity. Chopin wrote the first of these etudes when he was only 19 years old, and they were published when he was just 23. Written for the Parisian salons where Chopin played and socialized, these pieces are quite at home in the environment of the Gardner Museum, where Isabella Gardner hosted intimate musical soirees and entertained eminent artists and thinkers. Today, this legacy of patronage, active connection with art and artists, and discourse about the arts continues, with Artists-in-Residence working in the museum and musicians filling the museum with music every Sunday. Like the salons of Paris, this lively artistic setting is the sort of place one might have first heard these études back in 1833.
Recorded live in the Tapestry Room of the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum, Boston.
The Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum is pleased to share this concert under a Creative Commons Music Sharing License. For details see www.gardnermuseum.org.